tv Washington Week PBS August 11, 2018 1:30am-2:01am PDT
>> a nail biter in ohio has republicans dge. i'm robert costa. the midterm elections just three months away. challenges and the russia investigation loom over thet. presid tonight, on "whington week." president trump: thank you. thank you, ohio. i love ohio. obert: a special election in a ruby-red part of ohio ends in a dead heat. president trump: we must elect more republicans. bomani: robert: democrats say the midterm elections is a bell weather. >> it's about guard rails because we have a republican house and republican senate that are not putting any guard rails on this president. there's no accountability. robert: but democrats are facing opportunity and internal debat and insurgent progressives came
up short in some races in kansas, president trump's political capital in his own party was tes >> at the end of the day he went with his gut and president trump's gut is almost always exactly st so i'm happy he did. robert: mr. trump remains optimistic and prohid ts a re wave is coming. plus, are president trump and the special couel helded for a subpoena showdown? we discuss it all, next. >> this is "washington week." corporate funding is provided by -- >> newman's own foundation, donating all profits to charity d nourishing the common good. koo and patricia yuen for the yuen foundation. commitmented to bridging intellectual differences in our commoo communities. the complefpbles in journalism
foundation. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. once again from washington, moderator robert :sta. robe good evening. a special congressional election this week in central ohio remains too cse toall and as we await the final tally held by republicans for detects, both parties are reacting to the narrow margin and looking for cls about the dynamics they will confront in the cominghs mo troy balderson was endorsed by president trump and leads danny o'conor, democrat, by about 1,800 votes and they're still counting. do you count hard on president trump? for democrats, do you position yourselves simply as anti-trump joining us tonight, sheryl gay stolrg, congressional
correspondent for "the new york times." philip rucker, white house bureau chief for the "washington post." kimberly atkins, chef white house chore responsibility for thear bostond and jake sherman senior editor for politico. he just returned from a tripnd are so deeply immersed from houseeplicans. getting phone calls. are they alarmed? >> yes,hey are. this seat in ohio shouldn't have been on the map. this is an r-plus certainly, meaning an average republican wins it by certainly or morets po are the -- president trump won it be 11. ifak democrats can seats like that in play, they're in line to win 40, 50, 60 seats. i'm not saying that's going to happen. each race is won and lost on the mirltsof the individual candidates in this race specific
clip, danny o'connor, the democrat was young and energetic and troy balderson was stiff. that's what the republicans were telling me. i went and saw it first hand. he was standing outside the church from the home of the former senator from that district tea berry. he wasn't even shaking hands. was just like thank you so much for voting. where he could have said,n i'm o the ballot, i hope you'll give me a look. he was looking at the ground as reporters tried to interview him. individualnd races are won lost on the mirpts but if seats grabs, s are up for republicans are going to have to touch nobevember. : sheryl, i wonder about that map. you were in dals, texas. do democrats in that state now think because ofhahappened in the suburbs of columbus, ohio, maybe the suburbs of texas
and elsewhere are in play? sheryl: they absolutely do. i was in the district that encompasses some of the wealthier parts of dallas, includingeorge w. bush's neighborhood and the suburbs north in is a districthat has been held by representative pete decade. for more than a he's been in congress for 2 years, actually representing yet anotheristrict. two years ago, pete sessions did not have a democratic opponent. the other night, its at an activity, an event hosted by a group of east dallas democrats that did not exist 18 months ago. they now have 2,000 members. there were about 3 sweaty, fired hup up -- up democrats in the back room of this mexican restaurant listening to palmer all-red, a former pro football y , a civil rights lawyer and he worked for barack obama and he was reallyirg up the
crowd with kind of a very obama-like message. a surprisingly progressive message for a district that's been hubd by rcans. democrats are very, very jazzed about this district and abouthe in places like texas. i was also in new mexico in another republican district. places like this where they didn't even have a home a few years ago. robert: so those are the seeds in ohio and texas. why is that happening in?be the poll n show a lot of suburban women are trending away from president trump, even if they supported him in 2016. a new pew poll shows trump supporting women areov nowg away from the president. why is that? >> that's been a trend for some months now that's been really worrying republicans. it is true that these are local races at and they depend on the candidates but there are national issues at play and a lot of the things republicans
thought they could focus on, tha bill, people aren't feeling that the same way thethought they would. immigration was thought to be a big issue that would galvanize republicansut since the separation of children from other parents at the border, that has left a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of voter also, abortion, the cavanaugh nomination is bring nagf issue o abortion and the future of roe v. we to bear. on the issues republicans are not winning right now hheding into mid terms. robert: you think about balderson endorsed by president trump. he had a weekendally with president trump. ou think about kansas, in that rails, the republican primary forovnor. crisco advantage running against the incumbent,eff collier. they're still counting the vote. in kan the white house has to be wondering is the political capital there fsident
trump with the endorsement even with republican voters? >> it may prove to be barelyn enough i ohio and kansas and in kansas it may prove to have been t quite enough. off president who's galvanizede' by results seen in some places. florida, for example, he endorsed dos systems santos, a loyal alley of the president and he shot up in the polls quickly. and the president took from that that he can wait until these primaries andolster the numbers. in the case of advisors, heent against them to endorse him. it may not work in the end and are the danger for republicans in the districts you guys were at is trumps trying to make these mid terms all about him. he wants to be the majorn per in the detective. and that's a risk for the republican party.
robert: immigration is part of this broader, political, cultural war that's happening out there and we saw it on friday. the president stepped up hisck aton nfl players who take knee during the national anthem. on twitter he accused the athletes protest of "showing outrage examine saylehey're uno define what they're fro testing. his words. trump's tweet came the day before the anniversary of charlotteville where a white supremacist was killed when he drove his car into a crowd. how are house republicans adjusting and sen on the trail? >> they don't want to talk about these issues imost districts because these districts where a lot of these things play well are not in districts where there arexelt five activ races. in most districts. the nf thing is to decisive.
a path for republicans to keep the majorit in the house is through indicts that hillary clinton won, which is way donald trump is not anperative player in these mid terms. i was talking to somebody week who made the point --ck babama and donald trump both, their popularity both didn't car down ballot. donald trump is very popular with his base. barack obama was very p with his base but he lost the majority and was never able to get it back. we'll see what happens with donald trump. that's certainly a possibility. the 23 districts that hillary clinton won that republicans till sit in are a key to the medicine terms. riley republicans also see cavanaugh as sething that's going to motivate their voters. how does that play out? >> both. turning some women away if
they're trade roe is endangered and definitely going republicans look, this is why it's important that we stay in n powerder to do things like change not just the u.s. supreme court but the federalic jry for some period of time. it's a positive thing that most republans can get behind. a lot of republicans who wince at the president's twitter account are very happy with whag he's d with the judiciary. robert: you spend every dayin tato trump and his advisors. what is behind the language about the nfl at this point? >> there are a couple of factors in play. and regarding theweets from friday, the president is accusing his nfl players of not bein to define what they're protesting. in fact, they've been articulate in saying they're protesting police brutality and other issues. the president thinks this is a winning issue for himselfs he thi anytime he brings up
the nfl protest debate he is inciting his base, giving him a reason to rally behind him. donald trump lives in perpetual fear that his base is ing to abandon him at any moment. i think what happenedith the nfl this week is there were a few players on thursday night's games who stood in protest. he seid its an opportunity to make it a political forum for himself. robert: to exchanges the sports metaphor, a curveball for republicans with chris collins, the new york congressman this week charged with insiderin tr duds -- does that affect the republicans as they move ahead toward november? you think about scott pruitt, the former e.p.a. administrator. now collins. will republicans -- democrats run on those issues? >> no, democrats are already running on those issues. they're talking abo a culture of corruption in washington.
this is very reminiscent of 2016 when resume rahm eneil ran the democrats leg in 2016. they talked about a culture of corrupon. there was a scandal involving teenage this collins indictment is literally a present to democrats who are already talking abo not only scott pruitt but paul manafort. the president's former campaign chairman on trial in a trial that i bringing up all kinds of details about bank fraud and tax i vacation and $12,000 skin suits, sort of exposing the ugly swampthat president trump promise told drain so you can bet that democrats will be talking and are already talking about chris collins and republicans -- republican scandals that they wod like to bring to light. robert: jake, when you're
talking to democratic candidates for the house, do they actually think that's going to work but is it more about them at this point, just talking about trump'swh conduct? e is their messaging? jake: there are two schools of number one is that a lot of democrats believe you don't have to talk about donald trump, he takes for himself. >> exactly right. jake: and he open it is door to other issues. and democrat candidates say ok, fine, now we can talk about medicare, taxes, issues that we want to talk about. the other school is that washington polls in the gutter. the idea of washington, which donald trump ran so successfully on, drain the a swamp that stuff. there's an opening to talk about how the president's estimator was --dministrator was living a lux life and wanted planes and other things. by the way, he was on the board of a pharmaceutical company and
passing off tips to his colleague and his kid. you can make good arguments o both ends of the equation. robert: when talking about thec des, kim, you think about at are we actually talking about? there's a republican civil war it seems at times but the democrats are deah ng weir own struggles. do they sfoumplets leader pelosi or not? is pelosi still t leader of the party? does the party have faith in her to carry her through the mid terms? >> i think it depends on who you k. the opposition against her seems to be growi e. siugh to force her out? that remains to be seen. she clearly sees herself as the leader of the party and one of the people crafting this message, the culture of corruption. yeah, democrats do have a lot of division. it depends again, district by district in these housebu races they have to come up with a message so the president and other republicans don't define
them. they want to abolish ice, they want socialism. that's the tag being pu on them. robert: is this the party of alexandra cortez who won a hou primary in democratic new york a few weeks ago or the party of leader pelosi? >> that's the great question thatar democrat asking themselves and we don't no. -- know. democrats likeead every pelosi are really trying to tamp down this idea that democratic socialism is ascrenledent within the democratic party. this house majority will be won on districts that are much closer, that are swing districts so democrats have to learn how to talk to trump voter what jake said was absolutely right. democrats are kind of letting donald trump talk for himself. when we're not seeing really a unified mental. we're not seeing allemocrats talk about medicine care for all or -- medicare for all or all
democrats talk about other issues. robert: the trump white house seems too want to try to talk to moderate voters. we've seen the president do rallies but ivanka trump, the president's daughter and senior dwitesor went toy, a blue statement. are we going to see different >> i think that's right. i vanca works in the white house as a senior advisor to some of those suburban areas where the president is not welcome. she was talk aboutom's empowerment and some of the the s she champions inside white house even though she sometimes doesn't have a lot of policy influence with h father but there are going to be other surrogates as well. donald trump jr. wl be on the trail a lot. areas ects in more rumor in particular.
he's a hunters, a sportsman, a fisherman. they're looking for ways to target individual voters and get them motivated and a reason to turn out if they're not necessarily the people who wait for hours at the make america great again rallies. trump. all about have no doubt that these midterm elections are going to be all about and the president wants it that way. he tweets every day about themi erm races. he tweeted the other day red wave is coming. he wants this medicine term to be about himself. robert: what does speaker ryan think about his plans? his busy speci? >> don't know oar ryan in particular. the liaison toru believes where trump could be most helpful is raising money and getting the money that republicans desperately need. they've been outfunded by the democrats time and tim again.
that's where he's best served. he's not best served in going to south florida in carlos's district where a demrat can win. he's not best served in districts whereemocrats have a chance. >> any midterm election, erespecially in the first of a presidency, is a referendum on the predent so whether democrats or republicans like it or not, this is a refrpbled on donald trump and i think that the voters feel the same way. what i talk tooters, it's either you love him or you hate him. all they wantal to about is trump. there's not much discussion ofa care plans or education plans or work force development or whatever. what's on the voters' minds is trump. robert: and hoverling over all of this is the cloud,pr as ident trump calls it. the russia probe. dy julianneah -- giuliani,
one of the president's lawyers has sent another letter to robert mueller. the del of a decision could lead mueller to issue a subpoena. do we see a subpoena showdown and what does that mean legally for the president? >> yeah, i think that's quite likely this idea that rudy giuliani can negotiate his way out of the president testifying if robert muller and his tam want him to testify is really a fallacy. we're seeing lotf giuliani i think messaging to the president et more the television than giving legal advice. all of this is an open le question. the power to system or indict a president or anything else but at least on that initial p trying to force him to courtroom rate, it seems that the law is on his side. we had presidents in the past corp res with investigations while in office. bill clinton. it would be in theresident's interests to two in voluntarily
to avoid that fight but he doesn't always do what's if in his legal interests. robert: what is the historical precedent? >> there isn historical precedent for bill clinton testifying afterng l negotiations with ken starr's team. clinton insisted that the interview be held at the white house. he didn't wantf theagerying somewhere else on starr's turf. there was a limito theime, four hours and also the lawyers were present. thesident's lawyers were present for the interview, which is unusual in the case of grand jury testimonyre so t is historical precedent for a president cooperating. of course that interview laid the groundwor for the articles of impeachment that were drafted against bl clinton. robert: what's the real story, phil. the president's lawyers keep saying they're not going to
swer obstruction questions. is this all a delay tactic to try to prevent the subpoena from coming out before the mid terms? >> a lot of it we've seen in the past few months is a p.r. battle tween the president's legal team and the mueller side, which isle invis to the public in this negotiation back and forth. there could be some sort of an interview. it seems like there's a little i bit more wness on the president's side to sit down for an interview on questions related to the campaign but we should remember his lawyers are so hesitant to have him do this interview about obstruction ofj ice is they're frayed he could purr jury hself. we know he tells many lies, falsehoods and misstatements. he tends to exaggerate or recreate things so there's a real risk in putting him from front of th investigationors. >> i will say, he has been
deposed before. >> that's true. >> he was deposedurg the depain, wasn't he? >> about trump universoy. >> s he's been in this position before and obviously thes sta are much higher. his presidency hangs in the balance and if democrats win the house, everything is magnified. th chances of him being impeached, removed from. office who knows what will happen. that being said, it's shocking to me how quiet mueller is. how this entire circus is going on in washington and mueer and his team are very quiet and methodical, not playing the p.r. team, which is fascinating to see, especially in today's climate. erybody is talking all the time and mueller's team is very quiet. robert: that's true but we got a glimpse of how they work through the man form trial this week. >> right, thatas the best glimpse we've gotten so far. and we haveed lea they are
very clear, methodical and has every t crossed and i dotted. robert: he's given them a tough time. >> they have but in the end that's going toin work a president trump and his team because they haven't been allowing the prosecutionoun the show. the judge has been running a prettyht t shim so if a conviction comes out of this, the fact you have a jury trial and you have the judge who can't beagged as being an anti-trump activist wh will make it much harder for them to discredit thisinvestigation. >> i think that's right and the judge backtracked a cracked the whip on the prosecutors and then was forced to say made a mistake and the jury was instructed that hea mae mistake. i think that's right. because the judge has been so toh, there wil be no suggestion if there are
convictions about whose side the judge was on. robert: final naught, phil. giuliani says september1sis the deadline. empty threat or real threat? >> moving target. there's really no indication that mueller is goi to be wrapping up by september 1. i think this could go well into the end of the year if n into next year. robert: phil, that face you made, we're doing tha all the time in the newsroom. thanks, everybody, for us here tonight. our conversation will continue online on the washington week exextra. we're we'll talk about how the 2020 presidential race is starting early this week in iowa with a celebrity lawyer and trump critic making weafs. i'm robert costa. thanks for joining us.
♪ >> funding for "washington week" is provided by newman's own foundation, donating all pitches from newman's own food products to charity and nourishing the common good. e ethics and excellence in journalism foundation. koo and patria yuen for the yuen foundation, committed to bridging cultural differences in communities. the corporation for public broadcasting and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. :